One evening last November, a fifty-four-year-old woman from the Bronx arrived at the emergency room at Columbia University’s medical center with a grinding headache. Her vision had become blurry, she told the E.R. doctors, and her left hand felt numb and weak. The doctors examined her and ordered a CT scan of her head.
A few months later, on a morning this January, a team of four radiologists-in-training huddled in front of a computer in a third-floor room of the hospital. The room was windowless and dark, aside from the light from the screen, which looked as if it had been filtered through seawater. The residents filled a cubicle, and Angela Lignelli-Dipple, the chief of neuroradiology at Columbia, stood behind them with a pencil and pad. She was training them to read CT scans.
“It’s easy to diagnose a stroke once the brain is dead and gray,” she said. “The trick is to diagnose the stroke before too many nerve cells begin to die.” Strokes are usually caused by blockages or bleeds, and a neuroradiologist has about a forty-five-minute window to make a diagnosis, so that doctors might be able to intervene—to dissolve a growing clot, say. “Imagine you are in the E.R.,” Lignelli-Dipple continued, raising the ante. “Every minute that passes, some part of the brain is dying. Time lost is brain lost.”
Illustration Credit: Daniel Savage
A federal judge in New Jersey yesterday transferred a sales rep poaching case between DJO Global and Stryker (NYSE:SYK) to Indiana because the quintet of ex-Stryker sales reps involved live there and most of the events in th case occurred in the Hoosier State.
The lawsuit, originally filed in April 2016 in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey, alleged a scheme by DJO and the former Stryker sales reps – Kywin Supernaw, Brad Bolinger, Justin Davis, Jake Eisterhold, Eric Huebner and Tim Broecker – that took a roughly 33% bite out of Stryker’s ortho & trauma sales in Indiana in 2015.
In June 2016 DJO and the reps fired back, asking Judge John Michael Vazquez to dismiss the case for lack of evidence, or alternatively to shift it to the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana. Yesterday Vazquez granted the motions to relocate the case, according to court documents.
Image Credit: MassDevice
In an exciting year for healthcare, orthopedic device companies underwent mergers and acquisitions, strove to find the most innovative solutions and made calculated decisions in the hopes of achieving long-term success as the market becomes increasingly competitive. So who had the best 2016?
In what could potentially serve as an important moment in the quest to 3D-print body parts, a team of scientists from Sweden’s Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers University of Technology have managed to successfully implant human cartilage cells in six-week-old baby mice.
The researchers created a gel composed of human cartilage cells, printed it through a CELLINK 3D bioprinter and implanted the material inside the lab mice. Once implanted, the tissue began to grow and proliferate inside the animal, eventually vascularizing, with blood vessels growing inside the implanted material. After two months, the material began to more closely resemble human cartilage, which was further stimulated with the addition of stem cells.
The team worked with local plastic surgeons to implant the material, which could one day be used to create more natural implants for patients who have lost ears, noses or knees due to accidents or diseases like cancer.
Image Credit: TechCrunch
The new Trump administration and Republican Congress – and all the accompanying change and uncertainty – is the major story for the medical device industry.
But there are many other medtech stories worth noting from the first quarter of 2017. There was an FDA warning over Abbott’s Absorb bioresorbable stent, a continued spate of M&A deals, a slew of cardiology research breakthroughs including a customizable robotic heart out of Harvard, and much more.
Here are the top medical device stories of early 2017.
Image Credit: White House
Dr. Matthew T. Hummel of Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers performed the first total knee replacement surgery using new robotic-arm assisted technology at St. Elizabeth Healthcare — technology available at only a handful of medical centers in the nation.
Today’s successful surgery was performed using a device called the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System. The surgeon’s use of the robotic-arm system brings exceptional accuracy to the surgery — which can mean the patient has a much better result, with more natural movement and less pain after the surgery.
Together with highly detailed computerized scans of the knee before surgery, the robotic arm-assisted device ensures incredibly accurate cuts for the surgery, along with precise alignment and placement of the knee implant. The device allows for accuracy within a single millimeter, or the thickness of a thread.
“I think our ability to use this advanced technology can really change the world for our patients who need this type of surgery,” Hummel said. “With our surgical expertise and with this equipment, this surgery can now be performed with exceptional accuracy, providing better results for patients.”
Image Credit: Stryker
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday withdrew the much-maligned bill to replace the Affordable Care Act from the floor Friday as Republican dissent swelled.
The move came just minutes before the U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote on the American Health Care Act. GOP leadership in the House frantically tried to muster the votes to save the bill during floor discussion despite a growing number of defections from moderates and ultra-conservatives.
“This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard,” Ryan said during a news conference Friday afternoon. “All of us, myself included, will need time to reflect on how we got to this moment, what we could have done to make it better.”
Ryan visited President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday before returning to the House floor for debate on the bill, telling the president they did not have the 216 votes necessary to pass the legislation. Trump issued an ultimatum on Thursday, telling the GOP they needed to pass the AHCA or Obamacare would live on.
Image Credit: Modern Healthcare